LAST Saturday, 19-month-old Zaac Dow was enjoying a treat of hot chips and lemonade.
On Sunday, he was fighting for his life.
Zaac is one of the three recent confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in Gladstone children.
His mother Simone said the disease struck out of the blue and with alarming speed.
"We were moving house on the weekend and, by Saturday afternoon, he had a temperature. I just gave him a Nurofen and a cold face wash. He had been fine before then," she said.
By early Sunday morning, Zaac's condition had changed.
"He was making noises like he was in pain, and just above his nappy line there was something like a bruise, but more purplish," she said.
"I thought maybe he had fallen down during the move, but then I noticed there were all these little black dots, like eco pen marker, all over his forehead and chest. I thought, 'That isn't right'."
She rushed Zaac to Gladstone Hospital where, she said, staff "knew straight away".
Zaac was transferred to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane. At the time of going to print, he had just emerged from surgery.
Previously in the week, doctors were preparing Simone for the worst.
"At one stage he flatlined. I just collapsed," she said.
"It's a miracle he's still here. My boy is a little fighter. He's fighting really hard."
Simone told The Observer the latest report: "He's not out of the woods just yet, but he's heading in the right direction. We've got a long way to go".
"I just want to say if it weren't for the hospital, my family and partner and the community's support, I wouldn't have the strength I do now. I have to be strong for my little boy and they are helping me do it for him."